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KU’s top rebounder, Jalen Wilson, may miss NCAA tourney opener

Jalen Wilson, Andrew Jones
Posted at 1:21 PM, Mar 15, 2021
and last updated 2021-03-15 14:21:10-04

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Kansas will be without its third-leading scorer and leading rebounder for its first-round matchup Saturday against Eastern Washington in the 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament.

According to Jeff Goodman of Stadium, redshirt freshman forward Jalen Wilson did not travel with the Jayhawks to Indianapolis and is not expected to play in the opening round.

No reason was explicitly given, but Kansas had to withdraw from the Big 12 Tournament semifinals last week after a positive COVID-19 test within the program.

Wilson, a 6-foot-8 graduate of John H. Guyer High School in Denton, Texas, has averaged 12.1 points and a team-high 8.2 rebounds during the 2020-21 season.

Kansas has not confirmed if Wilson tested positive, but two other Jayhawks, David McCormack and Tristan Enaruna, missed the conference tourney due to COVID-19 protocols after testing positive early last week.

McCormack is KU’s second-leading scorer and rebounder at 13.4 points and 6.1 rebounds per game.

He and Enaruna will travel separate from the rest of the Kansas team to Indianapolis and could be available for Saturday’s game if they continue to test negative for COVID-19.

Wilson only played two games in 2019-20 after breaking his ankle Nov. 8, 2019, against North Carolina-Greensboro.

A Rivals four-star recruit, who was ranked as the No. 47 overall player in the 2019 class, Wilson originally signed with Michigan, but switched to Kansas after the Wolverines changed coaches.

KU (20-8) is the No. 3 seed in the West Regional — which also includes No. 9 seed Missouri, No. 11 seed Wichita State in a play-in game, and the No. 1 overall seed, Gonzaga.

Eastern Washington (16-7) is the No 14 seed after winning the Big Sky Tournament. The Eagles finished a half-game behind Southern Utah in the regular-season standings.